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“Whar's the (apting? Howde, Jake berry of it," answered the other, chuck-Bill-ole boy !"
ling. The last recognitions were addressed But," continued the Captain, “I to two young men on board the steam- have two owners of the steamer on board; er, who had been noticed only as ad- and if I ever expect to command anothdicted to card-playing, spotless linen, er craft, I must consult them before dainty neck-ties, very long hair fiercely giving up this. A moment will do, you oiled, slim fingers, and a loose, disjoint know. They won't be long counting ed walk.
noses against your force." “Good. How goes it with you uns ? " “Sartingly-sartingly! only be alive
Capt. Powell, of the Prairie Flower, about it; and --mind--no skull-dug. stepped out from the cabin, and answer- gery, or we uns will hang yer to one of ed promptly, but anxiously :
yer own smoke-stacks." “ I'm the captain. What do you The leader returned to his band, and want?"
the Captain to the saloon. The Captain was near threescore and The guerillas without were awaiting ten, and his years, dignity, and evident their anticipated prize. character awed the guerilla for a mo- The Captain's face still expressed ment. He softened his swaggering air to anxiety, notwithstanding the whispered a more persuasive style.
words of the mate, which were these : Say, neow, look yer here, Cap, we “ The smoke of the Emerald is two uns done want ter have any fuss wid miles below us in the bend. The rebs you uns, so done pervoke it. Jes' let can't see her from shore. She is loaded us boys come aboard, an' help ourselves with troops for Fort Leavenworth. an' arter that you may go onter yer way
Check these hounds twunty minutes, a rejicin.' Ain't that so, lads ?" and we're all right.”
“Yes, sartin-bully!” shouted the Vincent, McCann, and Dumfrees had band.
armed, and stood at the door as the “How, in case I refuse ? " asked Cap Captain entered the saloon. tain Powell.
“Just the men I want,” said he, “ Then,” replied the guerilla, inter- repeating to them the pilot's communilarding his reply with profuse oaths, cation. Here, mate; arm the roust“We uns 'll come aboard, w'ether or no; abouts, and keep the secesh' passenan' if there is one shot fired-jes' one- gers from helping these devils on arter gittin' what we uns want, we'll shore." cut yer loose, set yer on fire, an' let yer The mate was descending the stairgo down the river a-blazin'.”
case. “Send up six deck-hands armed,” The last words were uttered staccato said Vincent. “I'll look out for the and crescendo.
rebs on board." “ That's so ! " shouted another of the McCann and Dumfrees hurried down band, looking about him for approval. with the mate.
The Captain of the steamer paused, In the saloon and state-rooms singuand passed his hand across his brow. lar scenes were enacting. Some passen
Captain,” whispered the pilot, lean- gers were concealing money, watches, ing out of the pilot-house window, “ a and other valuables. Others were deword.”
veloping their sympathies, by producAs the whispered words from the ing secession flags that had been laid pilot fell upon his ear, a flush of hope away in lavender. From the state-room shot across the Captain's brow like a windows some hands, smooth and lilysunbeam.
white like those of Belle Romilly, and “Well, it looks as though you had others coffee-colored and rough with the best of me," he replied to the gue much chewing of clay, and taking of rilla.
snuff, and smoking, were waving the “ Yes, Cap, that's the sarting huckle- significant emblem, to the infinite de
light of the ruffians on shore, who deck, and secreted themselves behind cheered their fair reinforcements. the smoke-stack and some outlying
Ladies were pale and trembling, and freight. some of the sterner sex were irresolute, Vincent posted the six roustabouts while the danger was impending; along the saloon, with orders to shoot though, when the fight had set in, near- the first person who entered a stately all bore themselves coolly. Others room or created any disturbance. The were praying, or cursing the “Guy' ladies bridled, but all was very quiet. ment" for the war. Disorder and con- “Come, Cap, hooray-time's up!" fusion were beginning to prevail. was heard from the bank.
The half-dozen blacks, armed with Captain Powell opened the officerevolvers, reported to Captain Vincent door, stepped out upon the deck, and at the head of the stairway.
walked to the rail near the paddle-box, “ Clear every state-room of its occu- Well, how is it, Cap? du they say pant,” shouted the Captain with elec- heartily welcum ?” chuckled the leader. tric ardor.
The Captain of the Prairie Flower The roustabouts quickly performed the saw that he could make but little more task. Flags and badges of " Secessia" time, as the ruffians would be no longer were thrust into pockets. With many restrained. a flirt and flutter, the ladies of Confede- “Of course, there's only one answer," rate sympathies bounced into the saloon. said the leader, nearing the gang-planks,
“Let all be quiet here, now," con- the remainder of the band following tinued Vincent, peremptorily.
him. “ Haul down the rag, boys," Thiis order was so fully obeyed, more pointing, at the same time, to the stars from surprise and curiosity than from and stripes floating over thc pilot-house. intent, that the fall of a pin might “Hold !” shouted the Captain. “Unhave been heard.
der that flag I have sailed this river for “All who will help defend the steam- thirty years. The man that hauls it er, step forward ! "
down in defeat, travels over the dead “ Twenty-two men, a dozen of whom body of John Powell.” were armed, hurried around the speaker. This reverse astonished the ruffians, Upwards of forty male passengers, who for a moment admired the dignity secessionists, or indifferent, remained of the old man. It was but for a mowith the ladies and children in the ment. lower portion of the saloon.
“ So the white-headed ole fox has On the main deck, McCann, Dum- cum possum on us, eh?” yelled the frees, and the mate were arming the owner of the tattered gray, instantly crew. Every roustabout had a weapon raising his rifle and firing. But Captain of some kind-a musket, an axe, or a Powell had darted into the cabin, and hay-fork. It was known they would the ball shattered only the panel behind get no quarter if taken, and the dead him. old man at the foot of the tree, whose "Well, now, lads," said the leader, son was among them on the steamer, fairly foaming with rage,
" since they imparted the silent bitterness of revenge want fight, give 'em their fill." to their determination.
The leader dashed down the gang“Lieutenant McCann," said Vincent, planks, followed by his band. “Fire!" as that officer leaped up the staircase, shouted the ringing voice of McCann "here are volunteers for you. I have from the pilot-house. A loud report no use for them. I and these deck- from the deck, a dozen shots from hands will keep order here."
above, and at least fifteen guerillas fell “Al that are armed will follow me," from the planks into the muddy stream. said McCann, opening a door upon the The dead sank in the swift current; river-side of the steamer; they crept some of the wounded crawled up the cautiously up the staircase to the upper
bank. The guerillas, surprised, broke
ranks, and sprang back behind the trees la-chief, following after in the “swath": close at hand, bearing a few of their cut by the trooper, and aiming a blow wounded with them. Others lay ex
with the butt-end of his rifle. Vincent posed on the bank, yelling and moan- parried the stroke skilfully with his ing.
sword, and returned it with a lunge at At this opportune moment Captain the guerilla's heart. The blade, in turn, Vincent, exposing himself to a shower was parried by a musket, and grazed of bullets, severed the bow-line with a the cheek of the leader, inflicting only single blow of an axe, and the straining an ugly gash. engine apprised the rebels that their The roustabouts, with cocked revolvprey was escaping. With a yell of ers, now reinforced the crew, and fired vengeance, they dashed out again on
to good purpose.
At last the shrill the bank, down the gang-planks, most whistle of the Emerald, near by, was of their number gaining the steamer's heard by the paralyzed guerillas; and, decks just as she got under way. They turning, they saw within a cable's now assailed the doors with the butts length the loaded transport bristling of their muskets. A fierce hand-to-hand with bayonets. These were not times fight upon the main deck-a dozen of when prisoners captured in such enterthe crew fell—another bloody struggle prises would have been treated with the at the foot of the staircase. The forces honors of war; and the guerillas saw of the steamer at last gave way, retreat- that the game was up, except for those ing up the stairway, bearing with them who could swim. the bleeding form of Dumfrees. A 6 Overboard ! ” shouted the guerillaparty were battering the saloon doors. chief, as they slid like turtles into the With a crash through the skylight water and struck out for shore ; which, above came the tall form of McCann being but a few yards off, many of them from the upper deck. His command, reached in safety, while a few were still seeing they were needed below, followed further “punished” by shots from the . him by the same "short-cut.”
roustabouts. The steamer's whole force were now The guerilla-chief sullenly lingered a in the saloon. At every triumph of the moment behind his men. guerillas, the cheers of the secesh pas- “ Had we not lost, I'd like to have sengers in the cabin reached the ears of roasted yer for this cut on my.cheek. the guerillas, inspiring them with re- As it is, take my card.” newed courage.
He lunged desperately at Vincent, who Would that steamer never come ? stood leaning against a state-room door,
“Bring up that spar from the deck!” supposing the contest ended, and not shouted the leader. The order was over-anxious to murder enemies who obeyed. The immense spar, carried by were already defeated. Ere he could twenty men, was placed upon the saloon parry, the ruffian had caught him by deck.
the throat, ripped out a bowie-knife, “Now, boys, batter away—all to- andgether!"
“Oh! say 'By your l'ave,' man, Crash! The main door of the saloon when you hand your card to a gentlefell, and the guerillas poured in.
man" “ Back !” cried McCann, dealing Vincent opened his eyes. The gueblows with his sabre right and left. rilla-chief lay a corpse at the feet of
“Down with him!” yelled the gueril- Lieutenant McCann,
ON A VERY SMALL SUBJECT.
My friend is very small, but I hope blood, and man does not rest till he has no one will take offence at that, for we slain his adversary. are surely too enlightened in our day to My first acquaintance with him was judge persons, wbo are thus introduced made in Italy. I had just crossed the to us, by their size, and to fancy that Alps and come from the Splügen down stature has any thing to do with right to the charming little town of Chiaor wrong We would at once revert to
The huge, lumbering stage had the modest height of a Cæsar, a Fred- rolled into the deserted square; the erick, and a Napoleon, and remember inside passengers had come out from that if Justice can incline her scales on their prison-like hold, the horses had either side, to gratify universal love, she been taken away, and I was still fast would do it in favor of the small and asleep; at last the conducteur came the weak. That my friend wears noth- with his lantern, and waked me up. I ing but deep mourning, ought to fill us made haste to get down from the coupé, with tender sympathy, as soon, at least, which I had had all to myself, and to as we learn his cause for the apparent hurry into the hotel--an ancient palace. ecc. ntricity : day by day some one of After long searching, I roused a venehis nearest kin falls into murderous rable dame, in gorgeous night-apparel, hands, and loses his life by violence. who showed me, through dark corridors It is for these unfortunate brethren that and empty halls, into a vast room, where he wears mourning, as the Black Friars I was to sleep. I was young and inexof old were shrouded in their sombre perienced then, and fancied that the garbs in memory of daily-dying man- door without locks, and windows withkind.
out bolts, might admit lurking dangere, I am sorry to have to add that the without thinking of the blood-thirsty sorrowful creature is man's bitterest and enemy that was lying in wait for me most relentless enemy, and that man elsewhere. The old lady reassured me, returns the feeling with an intensity by calling upon the Madonna at the and a passionate energy which has its head of the bed, that such a thing as a irresistibly ludicrous side, when we robbery had never been known at the think of the ill-matched antagonists in Chiave d'Oro; and in a wonderfully this life-long battle. On one side man, short time after her disappearance I was with his body fearfully and wonder- calling upon Morpheus. But, alas ! I fully made, and his mind that grasps was calling in vain. My wearied limbs the universe in its boundless power; on ached and longed for repose; my eyes the other side, a being so small, that would not and could not keep open, without great effort, it can hardly be and I yearned for the sleep which two seen; which has no weapons but those days and two nights' incessant travelthat are Nature's own gift, and let us ling had made impossible for so long a confess it at once-a pair of legs of time. But all in vain. No sooner did wonderful capacity to verify the truth I turn over and compose myself, than a of the lines, that
slight, gentle touch would make me "He who fights and runs away,
aware of the presence of another being May live to fight another day."
in my bed; my enemy would try here, The battle is daily renewed: its guer- and try there, as if to see how far he don is nothing less than life or death. might count upon my forbearance, or The diminutive champion of his race where I might be most vulnerable. It will not be satisfied till he has tasted was rascally to treat me so, and attack me in the dark, where he knew I was “ That in his wondrous power never can helpless. It was so contemptible, I de
Be made by angel, devil, or earthly man." termined not to mind it; but there was Did not even the son of Sophroniscus no magnanimity in my adversary, and consider it a task, worthy of the noblest silent contempt bad no effect upon his among us, to reflect on the ways of the bitter hatred. All of a sudden, a sharp, mysterious creature, and to measure the hot pain, like a bolt from an elf's dimin- length of bis footsteps ? utive bow, pierced me to the quick. The fact is, that the poor little aniI jumped up, I struck out, I fought mal, called upon by his Maker to secure with desperation. Woe's me! Who man against suffering from a plethora can contend with an invisible foe? of blood, has to do his duty upon earth Besides, he found allies ; like a pack of under the weight of fearful reproaches fierce dogs they fell upon, me, here, and constant danger of life. Dr. Santhere, everywhere; the little guerillas grado, who opens our veins and reduces laughed at my efforts, they despised my our strength, so that months do not awkward blows, escaping with marvel- suffice to restore us to our former condiJous agility ; and when morning broke, tion, receives large fees and earns a high my only trophy from the disastrous reputation ; but Nature's tiny physician, battle, in which I had been ingloriously who goes to work tenderly and scarcely beaten, was the lifeless body of one of punctures our skin, is persecuted with my adversaries. When the housekeeper implacable hatred. He shares this feelcame in with her cup of chocolate, ing with the whole world of insects — dressed in more brilliant colors than the one of those pariah-classes in the aninight before, I pointed at it with silent mated kingdom which have to wait for reproach. The heartless woman laughed, a Republican party and an Abraham and cried out : “ Che volete, signore, a Lincoln to be rescued from ignominy little gentleman in black ! ”
and to be intrusted with equality of It was then I began to ask myself, rights. In the meantime they are who in the world this tiny being was looked upon with terror and an unconthat thus fearlessly declared war against cealed repugnance. In this we are all man, the pigmy against the giant-this like children, who recoil with perhaps irresistible enemy, against whom no con- instinctive apprehension from the most stitution is safe, no stoicism a sufficient beautiful of insects; and even the phiprotection, who defies the most power- losopher, notwithstanding his attempts ful perfumes and laughs at all defensive at universal sympathy, is subject to the armor, which leaves but the smallest same impressions. The feeling is increvice by which he may enter. I found creased, when the tiny unknown being that his diminutive size, his dark color, is found to be furnished with an arsenal and his extreme skill in withdrawing of extraordinary weapons, which are from the sight of man, had led to his quickly interpreted into a standing being looked upon with grave distrust. menace to man. At first blush we may Things imperfectly beheld always cause confess to a little tremor, as we look uneasiness, like objects seen in the dark. upon the formidable, ever-handy arHe is so very small, moreover, that we mory, which some of them--and the fancy we are hardly bound to treat him little gentleman in black among themwith justice. So a German poet thought carry with them, like champions of old he sealed the poor little gentleman's fate going forth to tournament and war. by simply saying, "God made the world. There are pincers and nippers, saws, but the devil made the flea.” Another spits and hooks, augers, and notched savant, more generous in his admiration teeth, daggers and long knives; but, of the marvellous manner in which he after all, they are nothing more than was made, declared that he was a mira- the tools with which they perform their cle, both by his make and the mystery daily labors; and we owe them some of his purposes on earth, and a being sympathy, even, for having to carry